Imagine that you were hungry for a meal, and there were plenty of tasty morsels around you… but you had to dive into chilly waters to get them. That’s a feat cormorants perform every time they dine.
The Marine Science Institute's monthly column, Science and the SeaTM, is an informative and entertaining article that explains many interesting features of the marine environment and the creatures that live there. Science and the SeaTM articles appear monthly in one of Texas' most widely read fishing magazines, Texas Saltwater Fishing, the Port Aransas South Jetty newspaper, the newsletter of the Texas Chapter of the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association , and the Heartland Of America online newspaper. Our article archive is available also on our website.
Conservationists, governments and energy companies all seem to take a keen interest in the oceans’ continental shelves. These extensions of continents are shallow, mostly flat regions of Earth’s crust under the sea along the coastlines. On their outer edge, a continental slope falls away to the much deeper sea floor.
Visit most any coral reef in shallow tropical waters and you will likely see colorful parrotfish gliding by, busily grazing on algae. These herbivorous fish are more than just a pretty sight — they are swimming sand factories.
The 80-some species in the parrotfish family get their name from a unique feature: Their front teeth are fused to form plates that resemble a parrot’s beak.
When you’re lying on a soft, smooth sandy beach, it can feel like the most tranquil place on Earth. But that seemingly peaceful sand is constantly in motion, thanks to the forces of wind and water.
On their own, groupers and moray eels are two fearsome coral reef predators. Groupers feed by gulping down prey in the open water, while morays can pursue fish into hiding places in a reef. But when the two team up to hunt, they’re a lethal team, leaving prey with nowhere to swim or hide.
Many things make marine iguanas unique. After all, they are the world’s only sea-going lizards. But perhaps their most amazing trait is that they have the ability to “shrink” in response to environmental changes.